Thursday, October 11, 2012

RIP Denver Zoo's Beloved Mimi the Elephant

Sad news. The Denver Zoo's beloved Mimi the elephant was euthanized Tuesday night (Oct.9), due to her severe arthritis and deteriorating condition. "This is never an easy decision, but it was the right one. We watched Mimi closely and saw her condition deteriorate rapidly. We made a promise to her to keep her comfortable and decided it was time to say goodbye. We'll all miss her very much," says Brian Aucone, VP for Animal Collections at the Zoo.

Mimi, 53,  is survived by her best friend, Dolly the elephant, and all the zookeepers, zoo volunteers and staff that dedicated themselves to keeping her comfortable in her final months. Mimi went into hospice care in August when arthritis started to wear her down. Her final months were  spent enjoying life at the zoo's new Elephant Passage exhibit and being spoiled by her keepers, who let her indulge in previously forbidden treats like pink Kool-Aid and peanuts.We saw her cruising her paddock in September, and while she seemed frail, she seemed to be enjoying herself with a dust bath and nibbles of grass.

Mimi was a very popular resident of Denver Zoo for more than 50 years. On September 17, 1961 she arrived at what was then the City Park Zoo in Denver, purchased and donated by Helen Bonfils, then the secretary-treasurer of the Denver Post. The name Mimi actually came from the protagonist in the musical, Sail Away, which Bonfils also co-produced. At barely more than four-feet-tall, she was described by one newspaper as "so lovable 'you could take her right into your home.

"This is an incredibly sad loss for Denver Zoo and our community. A member of our family for more than half a century, she was a wonderful, charismatic ambassador to countless zoo guests. Words cannot describe how much she will be missed by us all," says Denver Zoo President/CEO Craig Piper. She certainly will be missed by generations of Denver zoo-goers.

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